EXCLUSIVE: Stoke City owners make decision on future of manager Michael O’Neill

Michael O'Neill at a Stoke City match

Michael O’Neill has the backing of the Stoke City owners, who will allow him more time to take them back to the Premier League, TEAMtalk understands.

Former Northern Ireland manager O’Neill has been in charge of the club since 2019. But he has been forced to rebuild and has been hampered massively by financial limitations.

Stoke City were relegated from the Premier League in 2018, but £50m spent on new players did not see them go back up. Subsequently, O’Neill took over from Nathan Jones – saving them from relegation.

O’Neill was then tasked with bringing down the wages of the squad, which were amongst the biggest in the league with a host of players being paid top-flight wages.

We understand that only now is O’Neill able to have full control of the squad, given the financial constraints.

Despite a disappointing season, which had started brightly, we understand joint-chairman Jon Coates remains committed to O’Neill. He believes he is the right man to lead Stoke.

Reports have linked Stoke with making a change. But we are told that Coates does not intend to do so.

The news comes after Coates also confirmed that he had wiped out more than £100million of club debt – whilst a further £40m was converted to equity, in a further boost to the club’s future.

Stoke City are currently 15th in the Championship table with eight games of their season remaining. They are in similar territory to where they have finished in each of their three previous seasons since relegation; 16th, 15th and 14th respectively.

O’Neill is under contract with the club until the end of next season.